Corporate travel planners look for specifics in hotel sustainability efforts

As the world grapples with extremes of weather, from intense heat to torrential storms to dangerous droughts, business travelers want to know that when they stay at a particular hotel there is some effort to promote sustainability.

Today’s travel planners don’t just want environmental platitudes from hotels when seeking proposals for corporate travel deals. They are looking for metrics that reduce carbon footprints, water use, recycling and other areas.

“We believe this is a new era of travel, and sustainable travel is becoming an increasingly important consideration for travel planners as business travel returns,” said Jean Garris Hand, Hilton’s vice president of global environmental, social and governance. “When clients choose Hilton to host their events, they’re looking for a partner to help create meaningful change in the attendee experience and make a positive impact on the environment and the communities they visit.”

Companies want to see specifics from hotels in their environmental programs, and they are looking for measurable data related to these initiatives. Hilton, for example, has LightStay, a proprietary tool that tracks environmental and social impact. Its meeting impact calculator tool gives event planner clients the opportunity to see the estimated carbon footprint for their events using each hotel’s specific utility and emissions data, she said.

Many clients may be trying to reduce the carbon footprint of their events through things like carbon neutral meetings, Hand said. Many of the brand’s properties participate in its Carbon-Neutral Meetings program, in which Hilton will offset the carbon footprint of customers’ events by securing carbon credits on behalf of its customers. The footprint of all trade shows with 10 or more delegates at participating hotels will be offset through carbon credits.

Corporate clients may want to look at properties like the Hyatt Place Huntsville/Research Park in Alabama. Efforts are focused on water conservation, energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and waste reduction. (McNeill Hotel Co.)

The credits will be allocated to various projects that support Hilton’s Travel 2030 goals, with objectives including the maintenance and repair of boreholes in Rwanda to increase access to safe water sources, and the construction of a geothermal power plant in Turkey to generate clean, emission-free energy. , and the development and maintenance of wind farms in India, he noted.

The Hilton Pensacola Beach Hotel in Florida, for example, saw a 25% increase in requests during the RFP process to ensure there were green efforts, said Stephanie Barbee, director of sales.

Within the past quarter, she said three organizations asked her to provide green initiative information to ensure clients were partnering with someone aligned with the company’s mission to become carbon neutral.

“A lot of the requests are to prove that we have recycling efforts and that we’re implementing environmental best practices and being mindful of waste,” Barbee said.

Jennifer Barnwell, president of the Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, said sustainability efforts are increasingly important with hotel customers looking for information on carbon, recycling, and hotel water use. Prospective clients are asking for details, such as what the hotel’s average carbon emissions are per room night, if a property is LEED or BREEAM certified, and if the hotel is certified by programs such as Green Key, Green Seal, Green Globes, Green Mark. , green check, travel life or earth check. They also want to know what the hotel’s average water use per room night is.

“The [Curator] Hotels talk about their green initiatives and create sustainability committees to address the above issues,” Barnwell said. Corporate clients “want to see that at least some sustainable and environmentally-focused efforts are in place, and that’s top of mind for the hotel. and its team.”

Corporate clients are looking for hotel operators that focus on environmental efforts in four key areas: water conservation, energy efficiency, carbon emissions and waste reduction, said Travis Murray, president of McNeil Hotel Company.

They want to see hotel management practices that conserve water use, provide energy efficient accommodations. and provide energy efficient event spaces.

“This is extremely important as we continue to make progress through the pandemic.” Murray noted. “We know that business travel supports economic growth because it moves people across national borders, and companies want to be able to do this while doing the right thing for society and the environment.”

Ashley Manley, director of sales at the Fairfield by Marriott San Diego North/San Marcos in California, agreed, citing details asked by corporate travel planners.

“Sustainability questions asked of hoteliers are direct quantitative questions: what is the carbon measured per room-night in kilograms, what is the water per room-night in liters, what is the energy intensity of the hotel, and what is the waste diversion rate,” she said. “The best thing a hotel can do is have collaborative operations and sales teams that educate each other about sustainability measures and how they factor into the sales process.”

Being certified by a third-party, globally recognized organization, such as LEED, is important because it guarantees that certain standards are met. If a hotel can’t be certified, corporate buyers at least want to be able to check that the hotel management company has its own responsibility program and objectives, she added.

“From top to bottom, companies are now encouraging travelers to make environmentally conscious travel decisions by including emissions data in their internal booking tools. Many corporate travelers want to make thoughtful choices to reduce their impact on the environment as much as they can,” Manley said.

Return to Hotel News Now homepage.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.